What is Mammography?

“What is mammography?" As an answer to the question; It is a medical imaging method that allows to see the abnormalities in the breast with low-dose X-ray. With the help of the mammography device, the doctor has the opportunity to examine more closely the changes in the breast tissue that she/he could not notice during the examination. Thanks to the mammography device, breast diseases in women can be diagnosed early.  Screening mammography is required if there are any signs of breast cancer such as nodule formation in the breast, nipple collapse or discharge coming from the breast. People with breast implants should have a for diagnostic mammogram. Diagnostic mammography is more comprehensive than screening mammography. Screening mammography is a type of mammography that is done only for control purposes, when no symptoms are seen yet.

What is Digital Mammography?

Digital mammography is a mammography system that uses solid-state detectors that convert X-rays into electrical signals, instead of films that are applied with X-rays.  These detectors are analogous to the systems found in digital cameras. Electrical signals allow the ability to produce images that can be viewed on a computer screen or printed on a special film similar to conventional mammograms to obtain the breast image. In terms of application for the patient, digital mammography is no different from other mammograms. However, because it as works to increase resolution and contrast, a clearer image is obtained compared to normal mammography. This facilitates the differentiation and imaging of small tumors in the breast tissue and provides an advantage for the doctor to diagnose the disease. Since it provides access to certain and clear information at once, it also eliminates the need for frequent regular mammography.

How is Mammography taken?

All clothing is removed and a long cotton dress with an open front is put on. After the dress is put on, one arm is pulled out and the breast to be shot is released and it is asked to stand in front of the mammography machine.
During mammography, after the breast is placed between two plates, it is flattened by pressing and X-rays are sent. Although this may cause a slight discomfort in the breast, it will only last a few seconds.
After the breast is placed between the plates, it is desirable to hold the breath. Meanwhile, the technician will quickly take the X-ray. The plaque will then be separated from the breast.
The technician repositions the patient so that a second view of the breast can be taken from a different angle.
This process is repeated in the same way for the other breast.
Jewelry such as necklaces and bracelets should be removed during mammography. In addition, since substances such as deodorant and powder applied to the body can damage the mammography images, they must be cleaned before the procedure.

Difference Between Mammography and Ultrasound

During the procedure with a mammography device, low-dose radiation is used to take an image of the breast. For the best view, the breast is flattened and compressed between two plates, and images are usually taken from two different angles. Unlike the mammography device, which uses radiation to take the image of the breast, the ultrasound device sends sound waves to the body. After the area is covered with gel to detect abnormalities in the breast, a microphone-like instrument is placed on the skin to direct the sound waves and follow the echoes as they bounce off the breast tissue. After the sound echoes are converted into pictures, they are followed on the computer screen. In this process, there is no intervention such as placing the breast on the plate and straightening it. It is insufficient to use ultrasound alone for disease finding. Studies have shown that ultrasound can hide small cysts or tumors.

What at age is Mammography taken?

It is difficult to determine at what age to start mammography screenings. Although early diagnosis is of great importance in order to prolong survival, it is also necessary to minimize the patient's exposure to radiation. Because some studies reveal that being under mammography device radiation can also increase the risk of cancer. Most experts consider it appropriate to have their patients undergo a mammogram once a year to prevent this situation. From this point of view, choosing the age range where the risk of developing cancer is generally high is the right starting point to start screening. It is recommended that women at average risk should not have their first mammogram before the age of 40. In addition, experts recommend that this should be repeated every year after screening for cancer. However, there is no definite answer as to when mammography should be obtained first.

How long a Mammogram Scanning?

After being in the appropriate position for mammography, the technician takes a breast image within a few seconds. This process can be uncomfortable, but it will in the end just a few minutes. Although the duration of mammography varies according to the center where the procedure is performed, the time it takes to fill the patient identification form and the preparation process; Screening mammography usually takes 15 minutes. Diagnostic mammography can take twice as long (30 minutes) as this.

Is it painful during Mammography?

The mammography experience is different for everyone. Some women may feel pain during the procedure, while others may not feel anything. Pain level; It may vary depending on the size of the breasts, the coincidences of the menstrual cycle with the mammogram, personal pain tolerance, and how the person is positioned during the procedure. However, permanent and long-term pain does not occur after the mammography procedure. Since women's breasts may be more sensitive due to their menstrual cycle, the question "on which day of the menstrual period mammography is taken?" may come to mind. It is recommended to avoid mammography one week before the menstrual cycle in order to prevent possible pain. In addition, since caffeinated substances can increase breast sensitivity, it is recommended not to consume such foods a week or two before the appointment.

How to get Mammography results?

On the scan results, a nodule or mass with a smooth structure is usually not cancerous. A palpable nodule can be examined with an ultrasound device. If it is filled with fluid, it is called a cyst and is usually not cancerous; however, the doctor may still recommend a biopsy. Nodule that have a star-like appearance and do not have smooth edges are of greater concern and often require biopsy. How long it takes to get a mammogram result may differ depending on whether you have a screening or diagnostic mammogram. While it usually takes two weeks to get the results of the screening mammography, the result report can be obtained from the doctor or the relevant reporting unit immediately after the diagnostic procedure.

Is there any harm of Mammography?

A mammogram procedure does not cause worrisome or long-term side effects on breast tissue. Like all X-ray examinations, mammography also exposes the person to some amount of radiation. For this reason, there is a lot of discussion about how often women should get mammograms. Although this issue is controversial, oncologists state that the amount of radiation exposure during mammography is minimal and that the benefits of detecting breast cancer early outweigh any risks or side effects of radiation.

Which department goes to for Mammography?

Detecting cancer at an early stage easier the treatment process. Mammography cannot prevent the formation of breast cancer and does not reduce the risk of developing cancer. However, it can prevent deaths from breast cancer. For this reason, it is important for women from the age of 19 to develop a routine for self-examination and to see a doctor as soon as possible to detect lumps that they think are cancer-related. People with a suspicion of cancer may be asked the question "from which department to make an appointment for mammography?". In order to have a mammogram or to determine whether any swelling carries a cancer risk, an appointment should be made from the general surgery department in hospitals.

Created at 11.10.2023 06:20
Updated at 29.10.2023 07:16
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